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The Running Man Blu-ray Review

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The cast elevates “The Running Man.”

Not to be confused with the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same, 1963’s “The Running Man” tells the story of a husband (Rex) who fakes his own death for life insurance money. His wife (Stella) is in on the scam and the two plot to reunite in Spain where Rex will have donned another persona. While the two are in Span making plans for the future, they bump into an insurance agent that Stella met while in London which could potentially complicate matters for the couple. To make matters even more complicated, Stephen has feelings for Stella while Stella begins to question the man she married.

Directed By Carol Reed (best known for one of the cinematic greats “The Third Man”), “The Running Man” is an adaptation of Shelley Smith’s novel “The Ballad Of The Running Man” (John Mortimer penned the screenplay). The script is admittedly the weakest thing about this project. The story is pretty basic, the middle act meanders, the rift between Rex and Stella could have been explored in greater depth, and the love triangle is, again, nothing you haven’t seen before. Luckily, everything around the story works. Carol Reed’s assured direction of the cast is fantastic (I’ll get to the cast shortly), there’s a great deal of tension (especially in the exciting last half hour), and the location shooting adds so much to this film as a whole. It gives a real globe trotting adventure atmosphere and adds an ere of authenticity.

The trio of cast members playing Stella (Lee Remick), Rex (Laurence Harvey) and Stephen (Alan Bates) give first rate performances. Lee Remick in particular impresses as the accomplice turned conflicted wife. Despite Harvey’s ridiculous Australian accent, he shines as the suave and greedy mastermind behind the scam. Finally, there’s Alan Bates who gives the most down-to-earth performance as Stephen.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The print has dirt specs and defects but it’s not a big issue overall as the rich colors more than make up for any shortcomings.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A stellar Mono track all around.

Extras:
* Image gallery
* A booklet featuring credits, photos, an essay about the screenwriter and novelist r by author Barry Forshaw, an essay about the production by Henry Blyth, a recollection by John Harris
* Isolated music and effects track
* “Lee Remick At the National Film Theatre”- An audio interview with the late actress from 1970.
* “On The Trail Of The Running Man”- A new 24 minute extra featuring interviews with various crew members who talk about everything from Carol Reed to their individual lives and careers.
* A thoughtful solo commentary by author Peter William Evans who penned a book about Carol Reed.

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May 28, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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